No matter what the age is of your audience, social media is critical as the number of traditional media operations declines.
I heard this point emphasized by Oliver Theil, director of public relations, San Francisco Symphony, at a recent meeting of the Public Relations Round Table of San Francisco, and I couldn’t agree more. They apply to almost every business or organization.
Among the relevant points that Theil made are these:
• The number of traditional media outlets is diminishing.
• Those that exist all have suffered from staff cutbacks in recent years, diminishing the opportunity for coverage.
• Because of this, it is important for the symphony to engage its community of 104 musicians, 1,500 volunteers, subscribers and other friends to tell its story. “We need to give them the content to help us.” Another quote from Oliver: “It is critical to deal with our patrons directly.”
• Word-of-mouth recommendations in social media from symphony supporters are more persuasive than recommendations from the media.
• The community of friends, i.e., social media subscribers, is not primarily interested in factual information such as upcoming programs. Instead they want tidbits giving them a personal connection with performers, such as an interview with a violin player or a YouTube interview with a visiting artist as he arrives to rehearse. These are the things that people share with their friends.
It’s good advice for everyone.
Disclosure note: I’m proud to say that I’m a former board member of the Round Table, founded in 1939 for senior-level public relations practitioners.